PHOTOS: Nevadans gather for state holiday celebration marked by campaigning prohibition
Organizers said the biting cold early Saturday morning did not deter thousands of Nevadans from attending Carson City’s annual Nevada Day celebration, complete with a parade featuring marching bands from across the state and even a beard contest.
Nevada’s birthday party attracts Silver State residents from the sage to the pine and everywhere in between.
"[Nevada Day] means history. It means it's for the people," Gov. Joe Lombardo said in an interview.
Underlying the traditions and festivities were reminders of the country’s divided political climate. This marks the first year political hopefuls were prohibited from individually campaigning during the parade, a significant part of the day, even during years when the general election is more than a year away.
“Who’s not running for governor?” a parade emcee joked during the 2021 parade. “We’ve seen like seven candidates already.”
The prohibition was intentionally given a trial run in an off-year, when the state wasn’t holding a general election in less than a week, Nevada Day Inc. Executive Director Brooke Santina said.
Excessive litter from political flyers and the increasing political divide were among the reasons Santina said Nevada Day, Inc. decided to prohibit individual campaigning.
“If we don't have the continual triggers for people that are very passionate about their side, and they don't see the opposite side going down the street over and over and over … that would be maybe a bit of a safer type of environment,” Santina said. “So we thought we'd give it a shot. See what happens.”
However, numerous elected officials walked in the parade and those who are up for election in 2024 joined either the Democratic or Republican party floats.
Kris Kauffman, a lifelong Carson City resident, said he's been going to the parade for decades and appreciated the lack of political discourse this year.
"I do see a little less hooting and hollering from the crowds, which is always good," Kauffman said. "I'm a pacifist when it comes to that type of stuff."